The 2020-21 LaLiga Santander concluded on Saturday with arguably the most exciting of finishes since the 2013-14 season, when FC Barcelona and Atlético Madrid battled it out on the last day of the season for the league title.
This year’s LaLiga title race was the tightest in over a decade, with at least four teams in contention not more than two weeks ago. By the final matchday, however, only the two Madrid giants, Atlético Madrid and Real Madrid, remained.
Atléti played Real Valladolid, who needed to win to have any hope of retaining their league status. Real, on the other hand, played Villarreal CF, who needed to win to at least secure UEFA Europa League qualification via the league. Atleti needed a win to secure their title, for if Real got three points and Atleti dropped any, the Blancos would have been given the league on head-to-head.
In a fashion typical of this year’s LaLiga, both Madrid sides began their games poorly. Atlético conceded a goal inside 18 minutes (Óscar Plano), while Real conceded one inside 20 (Yeremi Pino). At that point, Atlético losing the match would have made no difference if Real didn’t manage to capitalise on it.
All of that changed in the second half. Atlético Madrid got themselves an early second-half goal when Ángel Correa toe-poked one in in the 57th minute. Ten minutes later, Luis Suárez ran off into a counterattack and slotted one in, completing his side’s comeback and his own redemption arc. Real Madrid, on the other hand, managed to win their match courtesy of two very, very late goals from Karim Benzema (87’) and Luka Modrić (90+2’), but with Atlético conceding no more goals, it was all in vain. Los Colchoneros had secured their 11th league title – their second under Diego Simeone.
Elsewhere, FC Barcelona and Sevilla had long secured their respective UEFA Champions League qualifications before bowing out of the title race. Real Sociedad (5th) and Real Betis (6th) rounded off the UEFA Europa League spots. Villareal’s defeat meant they could only secure a seventh-place finish and with it, a UEFA Europa Conference spot. That could change, however, when they play Manchester United in the Europa League final in the midweek. Should they win it, they’ll be guaranteed a spot in the Champions League instead.
On the other end of the table, SD Huesca (18th), Real Valladolid (19th) and SD Eibar (20th) bid farewell to the Spanish topflight. For now.
Final League Table (Courtesy – FotMob)